📝 NOTE: This is an ongoing series on my theory of Artistic Intelligence (AQ). New here? You can read the first essay in the series here.
For the past couple Mondays, when I sit down to write about this topic of managing our artistic mindset, I immediately get overwhelmed. It’s ironic that in the process of attempting to write about how to move from a toxic to a nourishing mindset, I would fall into a toxic mindset. Funny, huh?
Luckily though, the concepts I’ve been exploring, refining, and crystallizing are exactly the exercises and skills I need get out of that space.
I’m struggling a little to organize all my ideas and put all these separate thoughts in an order that makes sense. But perhaps, being in a toxic mindset as I’m writing this guide is actually helpful. Who better to write a guide to changing your artistic mindset than an artist who’s going through it at this very moment?
This whole idea of AQ is not about getting rid of Toxic Mindsets—it’s about how to manage them. Those dark thoughts and funky moods still seep in sometimes, but I’m now able to recognize its happening and pull myself out much quicker than before.
I’m able to step out of the wallowing, dwelling, worrying thoughts, and get on with what really matters to me—making art. Writing, drawing, creating.
Anyways, I’ve popped out and bounced back from that downward spiral yet again. I paused, became aware of my mindset, let go of thoughts that weren’t helpful, replaced them with a more nourishing thoughts, and am now able to reapply myself to this project in a calmer, clearer, more creative way.
So now I’m zooming out to create a path forward. I think this outline will help me continue to wrestle with this huge subject in more productive and sustainable ways for me and more digestible ways for you!
Here’s where I’m at:
The Overarching Aims of AQ
- Learn how to recognize our mindsets while creating art and react intentionally to move from a Toxic to Nourishing mindset.
- Foster a new, long-lasting approach to artmaking where Toxic Mindsets are less likely to pop up and we experience more joy and satisfaction in the creative process.
The Mental Shifts of AQ
One or more of these mental shifts must occur to move from a Toxic to Nourishing mindset. Initially, these shifts happen consciously and deliberately, but with practice, they become second-nature, forming new patterns of thinking.
- Shift 1: Unaware while making art → intentional while making art
- Shift 2: Connecting with our art through thought → connecting with our art through experience
- Shift 3: Creating based on the past or future → creating based on the present
- Shift 4: Avoiding discomfort while drawing → accepting the creative process
- Shift 5: Needing art to be different → allowing art to be as it is
- Shift 6: Holding onto inner critic thoughts as truth → Releasing inner critic thoughts as thoughts
- Shift 7: Focusing only on distant goals → Engaging in sustainable steps and self-kindness
And finally, here’s a poem, Prelude by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, that has helped inspire and shift my mindset when I’m feeling lost.
“What if it truly doesn’t matter what you do but how you do whatever you do? How would this change what you choose to do with your life?…
What if there is no need to change, no need to try and transform yourself into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving or wise? How would this effect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?
What if the task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature – gentle, compassionate and capable of living fully and passionately present? How would this effect how you feel when you wake up in the morning?…
What if the essence of who you are and always have been is enough? How would this effect how you see and feel about your past?
What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am? How would this change what you think you have to learn?
What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practices that offer us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold? How would this shape the choices you have to make about how to spend today?
What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait? How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance?”
–Prelude by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
❤️ Thank you for reading!
We’re getting into the real meat of this now! I’ll be diving into each of these mindset shifts individually, laying out specific things we can do to encourage the shifts. This essay was more of an outline, and may not totally be coming together for you yet. Don’t worry, we’re getting there!
Thanks for being a part of this process and sharing your thoughts and feedback along the way with me! You can join the group discussion here on Might Could Studiomates.